2022 – Our year in review
Highlights of the past year at Lightdox
Here we go again, another year down in the books. After the turbulence and uncertainty all of us faced in the previous two years, it was hopeful to return, little by little, closer to how things were before. As any other, this year wasn’t without its challenges and difficulties but it’s been great to see festivals in full swing, full theaters and in-person meetings and workshops with partners and colleagues from the industry.
The holiday season is just around the corner and hopefully we’ll all spend some downtime with family and loved ones. Let’s go through the highlights of the past year as we gear towards the next one, renewed with energy and purpose.
We welcomed Raluca to our team in the beginning of the year as she took over managing the French, German, Italian speaking territories and the Benelux region. We’re so glad to have grown our team with such a valuable member.
From the EFM at Berlinale through Marché du Film at Cannes to IDFA, travel was back on the agenda as our team represented our films on the international market circuit.
In 2022, we expanded our catalog with 8 new films among which 6 were feature debuts.
In January, TERRA FEMME by Courtney Stephens — a film essay comprised of rare amateur travelogues shot by women between the 1920s-50s, weaving together questions of mobility, the gaze, and early female filmmaking — came on board.
February brought two feature debuts to our catalog – GARÇONNIÈRES by Céline Pernet, exploring current models of masculinity with an amused and caring eye, and HOW TO SAVE A DEAD FRIEND by Marusya Syroechkovskaya – a story of two young lovers who create an unbreakable bond within a destructive world.
In March we welcomed KAPR CODE by Lucie Králová, a documentary opera tracing the life of controversial avant-garde Czech composer Jan Kapr (1914-1988), a Stalin Award laureate who was later banned in communist Czechoslovakia and erased from public memory. We also celebrated the World Premiere of NO PLACE FOR YOU IN OUR TOWN by Nikolay Stefanov at CPH:DOX’s Next:Wave competition.
In April at Visions du Réel three of our latest film had their World Premieres — HOW TO SAVE A DEAD FRIEND by Marusya Syroechkovksaya in the International Competition, Lucie Králová’s KAPR CODE in Burning Lights section and Céline Pernet’s GARÇONNIÈRES in the National Competition.
In June, we picked up NORTH CIRCULAR by Luke McManus from the Sheffield DocFest lineup where it had its International Premiere. A documentary musical traveling the length of Dublin’s fabled North Circular Road, the film evokes narratives from the history of the city and nation through folk songs and personal testimonies from the iconic area’s inhabitants.
In October, Faustine Cros’s debut feature documentary A LIFE LIKE ANY OTHER came on board and had its World Premiere at DOK Leipzig’s International Competition where it won the Silver Dove and the Interreligious Award. We were deeply moved by Cros’s masterful way of subtly and intelligently expressing the emotions and frustrations of her mother in a film which highlights the issues of women’s autonomy, the limitations that patriarchal society imposes and the challenges of being a mother.
In November we celebrated the World Premiere of HAPPY PILLS by Arnaud Robert and Paolo Woods as the opening film of Festival dei Popoli, renewing our fruitful collaboration with Intermezzo Films who are the producers. The documentary takes us on a journey through six different countries into a world where chemistry is the ultimate response to every human aspiration. From antidepressants to opioids, from painkillers to stimulants, the film questions our entire consumer society and the Eldorado of prescribed happiness.
In 2022, our films have received incredible recognition and achievements on the international festival circuit.
KAPR CODE by Lucie Králová was nominated for a Doc Alliance Award and received the Golden Helm of the DocFilmMusic competition at Kraków Film Festival and the Best Czech Documentary Film at Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival.
NORTH CIRCULAR by Luke McManus was awarded Special Mention Award in Documentary Competition at Dublin IFF where it had its World Premiere, also received the Best Documentary Award at Louth International Film Festival and two recognitions at IndieCork – the Special Mention in Documentary category and the Spirit of IndieCork Award.
MUSEUM OF THE REVOLUTION by Srđan Keča received the Best Cinematography Award at Beldocs and the Heart of Sarajevo for The Best Feature Documentary at Sarajevo Film Festival.
The Most Uplifting Award at Cinema Verde International Environmental Film & Arts Festival went to CITIZEN NOBEL by Stéphane Goël.
The world tour and recognition of Lina Salem’s THIER ALGERIA hasn’t stopped – in 2022 the film has received the Award for Best Arab Feature at LatinArab International Film Festival and Special Mention at International Documentary Film Festival of Agadir FIDADOC.
This year, PENELOPE MY LOVE was awarded Best Documentary Award at Chania Film Festival, the Prize of the Jury at Escales Documentaires La Rochelle and Claire Doyon received the Best Director Award at Bosifest.
ULTRAVIOLETTE AND THE BLOOD-SPITTERS GANG by Robin Hunzinger has been awarded the Grand Prix and Audience Award at Festival Ecrans Mixtes, Honorable Mention in the International Competition at É Tudo Verdade/It’s All True, Special Mention at Peloponnisos International Documentary Festival, Honorable Mention in the Depth of Field Competition at Docaviv, Special Mention at Biografilm Festival, Special Mention at Festival International du Film de Nancy, Special Mention in Queer Art Competition at Queer Lisboa and the Best Editing Award at Rome IDFF 2022.
More recognition also came for Stefan Pavlović’s LOOKING FOR HORSES with the BALCANI CAUCASOTRANSEUROPA Award for Best Documentary in Competition at Trieste Film Festival, Special Jury Award at Ismailia International Film Festival, Best Documentary Film at Ann Arbor Film Festival, Best International Feature at AmDocs, Audience Award at SEEfest Los Angeles, Feature Film Special Mention and Special Mention in the Feature section by the Youth Jury at Faito Doc Festival, the Cimbricum Veronense Curatorium Award in memory of Piero Piazzola and Mario Pigozz for the best film by a young filmmaker at Lessinia FF as well as the Best Foreign Film Award at Aegean Docs.
ARICA by Lars Edman and William Johansson Kalén was awarded the Cinema Verité Award at Cinema Verde International Environmental Film & Arts Festival, Jury’s Favorite and Prize of the Public at Festival du Film documentaire de Martinique, Second Prize in International Competition at FINCA Festival in Buenos Aires International Green Award, category “Health and living environment”, Deauville Green Awards andBest Direction Award at Sole Luna Festival in Palermo.
A LIFE LIKE ANY OTHER by Faustine Cros had a wonderful start at DOK Leipzig, receiving the Prize of the Interreligious Jury and Silver Dove for best long documentary or animated film by an up-and-coming director in the International Competition. Following this dazzling start were two more awards at L’Alternativa – Special Mention in International Feature Film competition and the Don Quixote International Feature Film Special Mention.
LITTLE PALESTINE DIARY OF A SIEGE by Abdallah Al-Khatib continued to enchant audiences and juries across the world with 13 awards to add to the already long list:
- Special Jury Mention in Ópera Prima competition at MiradasDoc 2022
- First ever Arab Film Days Award at Arab Film Days Festival Oslo 2022
- Feature Film Audience Award at International Film Festival Ottawa 2022
- Best Documentary Film at Thin Line Festival 2022
- Students’ Choice Award at Movies that Matter 2022
- Special Mention at Festival cinéma du monde de Sherbrooke 2022
- Best Documentary at Critics Awards For Arab Films organized by the Arab Cinema Center, Cannes 2022
- Coup de Coeur des Jeunes Acid – France Culture Award, Cannes 2022
- Bravery Award Documentary Feature at Mammoth Lake Film Festival 2022
- Audience Award at Filmtage des Mittelmeeres 2022
- Black Iris Award for Best Feature Length Arab Documentary at Amman International Film Festival 2022
- Best Documentary Award at Dingle Distillery International Film Festival 2022
- Best Human Rights Film at Verzió Film Festival 2022
The film was also in consideration for Best Documentary Feature at the 95th Academy Awards.
And what a dazzling array of recognition so far for HOW TO SAVE A DEAD FRIEND by Marusya Syroechkovskaya – 17 awards in total as well as a selection for the European Film Awards. Starting with a Special Mention in the International Competition at Visions du Réel, the film has received The Prize of the International Film Critics presented by FIPRESCI at Festival du nouveau cinéma de Montréal FNC, The Explore Zone Award at Film Fest Ghent, the Grand Jury Award in International Competition at DOC NYC, Grand Prix Long-métrage at Festival International du Film d’Amiens, the Youth Jury Award at Zinebi FF, the Golden Key Award for Best Feature Film at Kasseler Dokfest and most recently the Audience Choice Award at Singapore International Film Festival, among many, many others.
- THE WITCHES OF THE ORIENT by Julien Faraut was released it Melbourne, Australia at The Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) in January.
- Juliana Fanjul’s RADIO SILENCE was released in Mexico in January, distributed by Artegios.
- OUR LUCKY HOURS by Martine Deyres had its theatrical release in France in April.
- Cinema Politica came onboard as the Canadian distributor of LITTLE PALESTINE, DIARY OF A SIEGE in April.
- ARICA by Lars Edman and William Johansson Kalén had a theatrical release in the UK in May.
- ARICA was released in Spain with DocsBarcelona in May.
- MUSEUM OF THE REVOLUTION by Srđan Keča was released in Germany in September.
- TERRA FEMME had its New York Theatrical Premiere at Anthology Film Archives with director Courtney Stephens participating in person to present the live version of the film.
- NO PLACE FOR YOU IN OUR TOWN by Nikolay Stefanov was released on HBO max in September, following its theatrical run in Bulgarian cinemas.
- GARÇONNIÈRES by Céline Pernet was released in cinemas in Switzerland in September.
- PENELOPE, MY LOVE by Claire Doyon hit cinemas in France and in Switzerland.
- In November distributors from France, La Vingt-Cinquième Heure, and Benelux, Periscoop Film, came on board for HOW TO SAVE A DEAD FRIEND by Marusya Syroechkovskaya.
- NORTH CIRCULAR by Luke McManus was released in Irish cinemas in December.
We have been thrilled to meet fellow industry professionals, present our latest titles and offer our support for up-and-coming projects at some of the major festivals dedicated to non-fiction filmmaking during the whole year.
In January, Land of Sar by Petra Seliskar, a Petra PAN FILM / PPFP Doel / Cinephage Productions coproduction, was awarded the Lightdox Award for the project with highest international potential at the International Pitching Session at FIPADOC – International Documentary Festival.
It’s always a pleasure for us to be part of Visions du Réel. This April, not only celebrating 3 World Premieres and one Swiss Premiere for our films, we were really enthusiastic to continue our partnership with Visions du Réel and present the Lightdox Award to support the project with highest international potential at the VdR- Work in Progress section. The winning project 5 Seasons of Revolution by Lina went on to be selected at Sundance for its World Premiere.
We were excited to go back to La Croisette in person this year and participate in the Marché du Film as an Exhibitor. We presented our latest titles, among which Celine Pernet’s GARÇONNIÈRES which had its Market Premiere at the Marché. We were also very proud to have HOW TO SAVE A DEAD FRIEND selected for the ACID Cannes program.
It is our pleasure to have a long and trustful partnership with Balkan Documentary Center and participate in the BDC Discoveries, an event we look forward to every year. At this year’s BDC Discoveries Pitching Forum the Lightdox Award was given to Blueberry Dreams by Elene Mikaberidze, produced by Elene Margvelashvili. We also had a wonderful time at the Sofia Documental festival where we celebrated the Bulgarian Premiere of NO PLACE FOR YOU IN OUR TOWN by Nikolay Stefanov as well as the award for Best Female Director being awarded to Marusya Syroechkovskaya.
What a year it has been! We wish you wonderful holidays filled with warmth, time well spent with family and loved ones and a very Happy New Year! See you all in 2023.